Xenophobic politics in Italy blocking skilled immigrants
May 25, 2023
Luca Mazzacane
(Pavia, Italy)
Edoardo Tagliati
(Siena, Italy)

According to the latest Eurostat report, 67 percent of non-EU workers in Italy work in jobs requiring qualifications that are far lower than those they hold.

In the EU, employed foreign workers are more likely to be overqualified than nationals are for their jobs. In 2021, the overqualification rate (describing the situation of those who perform tasks below their professional level and not appropriate to their qualification, skills and qualifications) was 39.6% for non-EU nationals and 32.0% for people from other EU countries. By contrast, the overqualification rate for nationals stood at just 20.8 per cent.

According to data in the latest report by Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Union, among EU Member States, the highest share of overqualified non-EU nationals in 2021 was recorded in Greece (69.5%), followed by Italy (67.1%), Spain (57.0%), Estonia (46.4%) and Austria (46.2%).

The data also show that the rate of over-qualification, regardless of country of citizenship, is higher among women than men, and for foreign nationals it’s higher among the elderly than the young (while the situation for nationals is reversed).

Italy's gross domestic product has barely grown since the turn of the century.  Eurostat data shows that after adjusting for inflation, labor productivity In Italy increased by only 0.4 per cent a year between 1995 and 2021, less than a third of the EU average. For decades, Italian governments have failed to harness the skills of immigrants and integrate them into the workforce, instead treating their arrival as cause for alarm.

This month, following a sharp increase in migrant flows across the Mediterranean, the Meloni government announced a ”state of emergency” on immigration. Meloni, who has drafted stricter asylum regulations since taking office six months ago, has also stated that she will increase channels for legal immigration, although no concrete measures have been taken.


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